Although born in Baltimore, Charlotte Govan is a dyed-in-the-wool California girl.
When she moved back to her hometown to take a teaching job in Columbia in 1991, she brought the golden sun of California with her. She basks to this day in its warmth in her Catonsville dream home.
"I was looking for houses in the Columbia area, but when I walked in the foyer here, I said, `This is it,'" she said of the two-story, brick townhouse in the neighborhood of Drexel Woods, just south of Woodbridge Valley.
Built in 1985, the three-bedroom, three-bath home with finished lower level was in excellent condition.
Govan and her then-husband paid $117,500. She estimates that over the years another $100,000 has been spent, mainly on upgrades, save for a new roof. Those included plantation shutters for the large kitchen window, laminate-wood flooring in the kitchen, along with all new appliances, new carpeting throughout the house, painting and landscaping.
"A lot of people don't even know this area exists," Govan said looking through the blinds of her kitchen window in the home's front. From her vantage point, she can see the bushes, flowers and small trees of her manicured front lawn, a parking lot beyond the front sidewalk and beyond that, a wooded area. The view from the dining room and living room is of a beautifully landscaped backyard and wooded area beyond that.
A ceiling fan hums above the round glass-top kitchen table and four wicker chairs. The eastern exposure brings in the warm morning sun, energizing her hanging plants. Shades of tan, brown and cream dominate the space, colors that Govan says give her a California feel - along with her collection of suns throughout the house. Plaster suns hang on walls, and small plastic suns dangle from lampshades.
The dining room, off the galley kitchen, is in shades of beige on beige. Three large windows cloaked in gold satin draperies with light gold voile sheers are reflected in the mirrored wall opposite.
The dining room and adjoining living room are carpeted in a light neutral shade. Furniture in both rooms is tone-on-tone, cream colored fabric on the sofa and easy chairs as well as the high-back dining room chairs that cozy up to a glass-top table on a white marble base.
Govan's living room coffee table and occasional table also have glass tops on heavy marble bases. The walls in these two rooms are beige with an accent wall of light mustard. Favorites of Govan, 54, a math-intervention teacher at Talbot Springs Elementary School, are a grandfather clock and two porcelain masks.
"This clock was a gift from my father," she said, pointing out the 7-foot-high Howard Miller piece.
White porcelain, Mardi Gras masks feature billowing black feathers flying from painted women's faces, their brightly colored beads cascading down the wall where they are hung one atop the other.
Govan's lower level features a slate fireplace on a wall opposite a white leather, pub-style furniture grouping. A copper sun sculpture 3 feet in diameter hangs on the west wall, glimmering in the light from the setting sun.
Glass doors open to the stone patio where wrought-iron outdoor furniture rests at the head of a landscaped garden of boxwood and evergreen. Ceramic frogs and pink flamingos share the greenery with birds playing at the birdbath. Hanging chimes ring softly.
"I want people to come in to my house and have a feeling of peace and tranquillity," Govan said.
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